‘I am now a stronger person’: young mom gives thanks to Lesotho’s Centre for Teenage Mothers
My name is Mamosito* and I’m from from Ha Tsolo, a town just to the west of our capital Maseru.
My mom passed away in 2002, and I currently live with my step dad and two brothers.
At the age of 20, I fell pregnant. It was not a planned pregnancy. As a result, I was unable to go to school for two years. As you can imagine, this has set me back quite a bit.
When I fell pregnant, I did not tell my parents. But it became apparent as my tummy started growing big. I was seven months pregnant when they noticed that I was with child.
Because it can stay cold in Lesotho for long periods, I was able to hide it from my parents by wearing a big coat.
My aunty was supportive, and she told me about the Good Shepherd Teenage Mothers Centre. She knew about the centre because she works there.
When I fell pregnant, I truly thought that my life had come to an end. But since I got to the Teenage Mothers Centre – and met other moms and the wonderful staff and volunteers – I have regained my confidence. All the mothers at the centre support each other with positivity and love.
In Lesotho, common practice is that when you fall pregnant, you get kicked out of school. This had a negative effect on me. When I got kicked out of school, I would just stay at home, doing nothing.
Now, at the the Teenage Mothers Centre, I feel happier. It has given me a second chance at life and an opportunity to gain practical skills while continuing with my formal education. Also, the centre has provided professional help that has improved my mental health. And my spiritual health has improved as I now attending church more often.
I have learnt to sew dresses for little girls, as well as for adults. I am now able to bake and cook. My favourite dish to cook includes rice and chicken, with salad of course!
The training I have received at the centre has prepared me to run my own business, which I plan to do in the future. But for now I am continuing with my formal education.
Teenage pregnancy in Lesotho is high because young people love to have fun and drink alcohol, and, when sexual education is not good, this can lead to behaviour that causes pregnancy.
The abuse of young girls is also high because men with money use their economic position to take advantage of the vulnerable girls who are often stuck in poverty. More information should be available on how to prevent teenage pregnancy, and there should me more awareness on what are the real causes.
Today, I am a proud mother of a little boy. He is three-years-old, and full of energy. He brings joy to my life. I love reading him books, and he makes me an even more bubbly person.
In short, thanks to Lesotho’s Centre for Teenage Mothers, I am a stronger person.
*Mamosito is not her real name
Young mom turns her life around, with a little help from her friends: Mantoetsi thanks Good Shepherd Centre for Teenage Mothers
Hello, my name is Mantoetsi* and I’m currently completing my internship at AVANI Lesotho Hotel and Casino
with three other mothers from the Good Shepherd Centre for Teenage Mothers.
Our internship is focusing on banqueting, catering and event management. The Learning and Development Manager at AVANI, Ms Lineo Thaanyane, made our internship possible.
Myself and the three other mothers are all learning a lot, and we have gained critical insights on the how to treat customers and serving people in the best way.
We have learned the importance of time management, proper dress-code, and setting up and clearing the tables. We have learned the philosophy that the customer is always right. Moreover, we are now equipped with the appropriate people skills.
We all receive a stipend. I put this money towards my child’s needs. I am the mom of a six-year-old girl. She is currently living with my mom during my internship.
It was my mom who told me about the Good Shepherd Centre for Teenage Mothers. She had heard about the centre through a friend of hers.
I was 17 when I fell pregnant. It was not a planned. I remember this time very clearly, it was June 2009 and I was attending winter classes. I was in the same school as my boyfriend. It happened on a weekend, when he asked me to visit him at his mom’s place. His mom was away at a funeral so we had the house to ourselves. This was the day I fell pregnant. It changed everything.
When his mom found out, she felt that his son was still too young to be a father. My boyfriend also told my mom that I am pregnant. This is very unusual in our culture. My mom was hurt and disappointed.
Adding to the stress, I had to give up my studies for one year. However, I enrolled again after that time in order to complete my studies here at the Teenage Mothers Centre.
The centre took me in and housed me, despite the fact I had no funds. They also provided me with clothing, sanitary items, and food.
While myself and the three other mothers are completing this internship, the centre bought us pink morning gowns, food, and a white shirt that I am wearing now. They also paid for our rental and transport while we are here. This has been extremely helpful, and made the internship even more enjoyable.
I always want to be here at the hotel, even when it’s not my shift because I enjoy being in hospitality. You can be sure that I will be working on my CV, as my future plan is to move to London to further my career. I know this will also help my child.
* Mantoetsi is not her real name
Ms Lineo Thaanyane, Learning and Development Manager at AVANI Lesotho Hotel and Casino, remembers meeting with two Catholic Sisters that ultimately changed lives.
Not long ago, two Catholic sisters approached our office regarding internship opportunities for their students at the Good Shepherd Teenage Mothers Centre.
Unfortunately at that time the internship programme was not taking more students. We had to decline the request.
However, we inquired further and heard the amazing story behind the centre, and learnt about the good working being done. We knew instantly that we had to do something. Through our Learning and Development office, we arranged to meet with some of the young mothers, face to face.
We were impressed by how humble and passionate the young moms ere. They politely requested two-month internship and we agreed. We are honoured to have such outstanding young women at AVANI Lesotho Hotel and Casino.
We wish them every success in their future endeavours and our doors are open for further opportunities.